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Quirky, Unusual and Interesting Places to Stay in the Western Cape
Get off the beaten track, from an eco-friendly guest house to a cave or tipi stayover
Last Update: 7 September 2020
Experience a getaway with a difference with these out-of-the-ordinary places to stay – from an eco-friendly guest house and a sleepover on a train to wigwam glamping and places that offer rustic treehouses, wood-fired hot tubs and waterbeds.
AN ECO-FRIENDLY GUEST HOUSE
Nestled in the Botrivier Valley between two streams and surrounded by apple and wine farms, Underhill Eco Farm is a green oasis that is dedicated to sustainable living through upcycling, recycling, and solar power. Oak trees and sod roofs provide shade and coolness in summer, and black wattle creates warmth for your fire in winter. Every cottage is nestled in the farm and invisible from one another, yet each has its own unique view. The 250 olive trees, fruit orchid and vegetable garden help supply produce to guests and the local community. Everything you see was created with resources made on the farm or built using materials that would have otherwise been thrown away by others.
Rates: From R798 per night
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A NIGHT AMONG THE BIG 5
Go on a sunset safari, a full day safari by horseback, quad bikes or 4x4, or experience African wildlife from a helicopter with the “fly in safari”. Aquila Private Game Reserve, situated in the historic town of Touws River, is home to the Big 5 – elephant, lion, buffalo, rhino and leopard - which roam freely on the reserve. If you’re staying over, the four-star cottages are built largely from rock, thatch and wood to blend with the environment and offer comforts like roaring log fires, alfresco rock showers and wooden viewing decks. Then there’s the Aquila Lodge, which has 22 rooms facing the reserve and the mountains and another 22 rooms facing away from the reserve.
Rates: From R2,130 per person sharing
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THE ULTIMATE GLAMPING EXPERIENCE
Escape the hustle of the city and go glamping (with all the comforts of home). Pick your boutique camp in any of 11 beautiful locations in South Africa, including the Winelands, Kwa-Zulu Natal, The Garden Route, and two camps near Kruger National Park. Expect stunning views from the deck of Pat Busch in Robertson, with its lush hiking trails, streams, dams, and fynbos. The experience is made unique because of the authentic local activities provided. Take in an ostrich or meerkat tour in Oudtshoorn, see how cows are milked in Wilderness, or experience life on a wine farm in Wellington. Many of the camps have wood-fired hot tubs and make for a sweet retreat for couples and group getaways. Discover each of the 11 fantastic AfriCamps dotted around South Africa.
Rates: From R1,190 a night
SEASIDE MEETS GARDEN LUXURY UNDER THE 12 APOSTLES
You don’t get more unusual than a Bakoven boutique that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and the Twelve Apostles, and is set in a luxurious 4,000㎡ garden, among giant milkwoods and koi ponds. This family-run guesthouse offers the best of both worlds – walking distance to the famous Camps Bay beach and restaurants, but far enough away to lap up the peace and tranquillity of the salty seaside at Ocean View House.
Rates: From R1,900 per night
BEHIND JEWEL-COLOURED, VELVET PADDED DOORS
Travellers who book at Cartel House Hotels can rub shoulders with business founders and creative agencies. The rooms are plush from the entrance and at the epicentre of the city. Cartel House Hotel bookings also hold the key into the Cartel Members Club. It’s free access to the Inner City co-working spaces across three locations and private spaces like a spectacular 360-view rooftop pool on the 11th floor, and the bedecked lounges. Read more about Cartel House Hotel and get access to all on the Cartel App.
Rates: R1,800 per person
GET STOKED FOR YOUR WOOD-FIRED HOT TUB IN TULBAGH
Enjoy the majestic views of the Winterhoek and Witzenberg mountain ranges from a private wood-fired hot tub in winter or a refreshing plunge pool in summer. Choose from seven beautiful self-catering cottages spread over two locations in Tulbagh, boasting private outdoor hot tubs, plunge pools, indoor fireplaces, braai facilities and more. Let Bergsicht Farm & Town Cottages stoke your getaway, whether it’s romantic or otherwise.
Rates: From R840 per person
Vrolikheid Farm and Theron Street, Tulbagh | +27 (0)79 435 2124 | email@example.com | bergsicht.co.za
BATH AMONG THE TREES AT A RUSTIC TREEHOUSE
The small town of Greyton in the Overberg area is ideal for relaxing in the fresh mountain air and enjoying the spaciousness and stillness of nature. Anna’s Country Accommodation offers three self-catering cottages and a treehouse specially built to include the old oak branches throughout the interior. Nestled high up amongst the old oaks, the rustic and romantic treehouse offers a hot alfresco shower with beautiful mountain views and a free-standing bath among the branches of the trees.
Rates: Cottages: R400 per person, treehouse: R700 per person
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1 Market Street, Greyton | +27 (0)84 764 6012 | firstname.lastname@example.org | greyton-accommodation.com
CAMP IN A CAVE, WATCH THE STARS, SWIM IN A DAM
A private nature reserve perched atop the mountains in Aurora, boasting spectacular views of St. Helena Bay, DanielsHoogte is a hidden gem, a mere 90-minute drive from Cape Town. The reserve offers fauna and flora ranging from endangered and endemic Protea species to klipspringer, duiker, lynx, aardwolf, porcupine, and 85 species of birds. Intrepid explorers can pitch a tent in a natural cave, accessible by road and equipped with a braai area and ablution block with solar-heated running water. Alternatively, stay in one of the self-catering cottages. Take advantage of the hiking trails and cool off in one of the dams.
Camping rates: From R800 per night (for 2 people)
DanielsHoogte Private Reserve | Aurora | email@example.com | + 27 (0)22 952 1740 | facebook.com/Danielshoogte2
AN ECO-FRIENDLY, OFF-THE-GRID TIPI GETAWAY
After buying a farm at the foot of the Langeberg Mountains in Robertson, owners Jackie and Andre started their business by renovating the farmhouse. With limited funds, they got creative with their own home and that’s what planted the seed for the tipi villages at Assegai Rest Farm in the Klaasvoogds Valley. They designed and built tipis that allow guests to have a self-catering pet-friendly getaway with a lighter footprint on mother earth. The tipis offer braai areas, solar power, outdoor and indoor hot water showers, battery-powered cooler boxes and even indoor fireplaces (firepots) to heat up the space on winter nights.
Rates: From R680 per person sharing
Assegai Rest Farm, Klaasvoogds West, Robertson | +27 (0)23 626 6115 | firstname.lastname@example.org | klaasvoogds.co.za
360-DEGREE LAGOON VIEWS FROM A HOUSEBOAT
As you rise to the sun dawning over the tranquil water, it’s easy to forget that land is only a couple of minutes’ boat ride away. Your houseboat stay takes you right to the centre of the Kraalbaai Lagoon’s buzzing ecosystem in the West Coast National Park. Make yourself at home on the water aboard one of the self-catering anchored Kraalbaai Luxury Houseboats with braai facilities, fresh hot and cold running water, solar power and more. Bird watching from the deck is mesmerising and you’ll notice plenty of fish and water creatures. Other activities include sunbathing, swimming, massages, beach walks, hiking, kayaking, supping and permit fishing; locals say red bait and fishing at night is the way to go.
Rates: From R2,600 per boat per night
Kraalbaai, West Coast National Park | +27 (0)76 017 4788 | email@example.com | kraalbaailuxuryhouseboats.com
AN AFFORDABLE STAY ON A TRAIN ONLY 30 METRES FROM THE SEA
Locals know it as "The Train" and it’s parked at the Blue Flag Santos Beach in Mossel Bay in the heart of the Western Cape’s Garden Route. The Santos Express features two vintage wooden coaches that were built in 1919 and 1921, then transported by boat from England to SA where they served a luxury rail company until 2013. Still boasting authentic woodwork and attention to detail, they were renovated into the Royal Suites, all with private sea-view decks and en suite facilities. There is also a honeymoon caboose, comfy private compartments with shared ablution facilities, a 16-bed dorm room, a restaurant, bar and warm and friendly atmosphere.
Santos Beach, Mossel Bay | +27 (0)44 6911 995 | firstname.lastname@example.org | santosexpress.co.za
FLOAT ON WATER AND SLEEP LIKE A BABY
Imagine drifting off on an ultra-modern, super king-size heated waterbed imported from afar and waking up feeling like royalty and ready to explore the town of Swellendam. That’s what the restored Cape Dutch masterpiece of De Kloof Luxury Estate offers, along with private jacuzzis, fireplaces, spa, fine dining and more. The honeymoon suite offers a super king-size waterbed and the villa offers three of these heavenly beds. Relax on your sun lounger on the private terrace beneath the vines and enjoy uninterrupted views over the mountain peaks and perhaps play a round of golf.
Rates: From R3,295 per night
8 Weltevrede Street, Swellendam | email@example.com | + 27 (0)28 514 1303 | www.dekloof.co.za
SLEEP ON TABLE MOUNTAIN
There are several accommodation options in Table Mountain National Park, which covers a large portion of the peninsula. The choices span from tented to more sophisticated cottages suited to parties of various sizes with a range of amenities. The accommodations are constantly changing as refurbishment occurs on an ongoing basis. It’s best to book in advance for this affordable opportunity to sleep over and explore the wilds of our city. You can book via their comprehensive online booking system.
Rates: R620–R5,065 per night
Table Mountain National Park | +27 (0)21 712 0527 | website
SLEEP UNDER THE STARS AT A NATURE RESERVE
Drift off beneath a canopy of a million stars and wake up to an unfiltered view of the untouched wilderness of the Cederberg. Explore caves covered in Khoisan paintings, try rock climbing, go for safari drives and enjoy a stargazing experience at the Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve. There are other accommodation options if you prefer the comfort of a roof over your head.
Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve, Cedarberg | +27 (0)21 872 4343 | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.kaggakamma.co.za
GLAMP IN A WIGWAM IN THE WEST COAST WILD
Growing up hearing all the old stories about Native Americans is what inspired Marion Lubitz to bring a tailor-made wigwam to the Farr Out smallholding close to Cape Columbine Nature Reserve. Fall asleep in a twin-peak wigwam while surrounded by Cape fynbos and the hoots of the owls. The ensuite wigwam features all the bells and whistles including wifi and an octagonal bed with electric blanket. Wake up to explore the thick sand and dunes of the coast in a self-built beach buggy, go dolphin and whale spotting and much more. Book the wood-fired hot tub or the braai area or choose from around 20 restaurants in nearby Paternoster catering to all pockets and tastes.
Rates: From R680 per person sharing
17 Seemeeu Crescent, Paternoster | +27 (0)22 752 2222 | email@example.com | www.farrout.co.za
A REMOTE GETAWAY IN THE SNOWY MOUNTAINS
Escape to a remote cabin in Ceres atop the Matroosberg Private Nature Reserve, where in winter the cabins and mountains are covered in snow. This translates to the opportunity to partake in snow-related activities such as skiing, snowboarding and ice climbing. Other seasonal activities in the area include cherry picking, abseiling, hiking, mountain biking and more. The cabins have no electricity, but are equipped with fireplaces and hot water, creating an authentic snowy experience.
Erfdeel Farm, Matroosberg Private Nature Reserve, Ceres, Western Cape | +27 (0)23 312 2282 | firstname.lastname@example.org | matroosberg.com
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